Opioid treatment to be overhauled by Vancouver Coastal Health

published on November 3, 2015 by Rick Cluff in CBC News

Vancouver Coastal Health rolled out a new approach to opioid addiction today in the face of challenges with the methadone system, and the growing problem of fentanyl and other illict drug overdoses.

Dr. Evan Wood, the medical director of community addiction services for Vancouver Coastal Health, Stephen Quinn on The Early Edition that one of the biggest changes will be that methadone will no longer be the first choice for those seeking treatment for their addictions – instead, it will be a drug called Suboxone.

“Suboxone is an interesting medication in that it’s a partial opioid agonist,” he said. “Unlike heroin or methadone, it goes to the opioid receptor in the brain and blocks other opioids from activating those receptors, but itself is not a full receptor. So it’s much less likely to cause a fatal overdose.”

Dr. Wood also said that unlike methadone, Suboxone doesn’t require a patient to go to a pharmacy every day for use, and can be taken at home.

Dr. Evan Wood on new opioid strategy7:13

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